As promised…. our trip report. We headed away on Tuesday at 6.45am! with Pablo, our lovely young local guide for a 3-day adventure into the Sierras on the Route of the Jaguars! It was a door-to-door service, (which is basically how he convinced us to go – the morning after our nightmare bus ride home on a long weekend Friday night) and we were comfortable in a  VW Jetta  – a clean modern sedan car with just Pablo, Lola and I.

As we were heading out of town we went past a development/industrial park called O’Donnell! Who would have thought and also a road named O’Donnell on the outskirts of Querétaro. They even have quite a good logo – we might consider appropriating? The Mexican Rellies

mark up xilitla trip

We didn’t stop in for a cup of tea, as we were heading to Bernal – a cute little tourist town (mostly for Mexicans) and breakfast of cappucino and pastry! A good start food wise – but the food option do go downhill! The attraction in Bernal is the Peña de Bernal – a massive rock outcrop near the town.

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Peña de Bernal from the Bernal main plaza
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Peña from the back – see the turtle shaped rocks on the RHS

Our guide tried to tel us he had seen UFO’s at this site on night, but Lola wasn’t having a bar of it and thought that perhaps magic mushrooms had been involved. We stopped off at an ecolodge on this side and were going to walk up a little – but decided that it was too hot and dry and at a reasonably altitude, so we flagged it. Impressive nonetheless.

We drove onto our final destination for the day – some cabins beside the river at Puente De Dios, Pinal de Amoles. (Bridge of God) and then walked up the somewhat dodgy river path to a lovely waterfall and grotto.

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The somewhat dodgy walkway path. Would Worksafe NZ be happy with this?
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The little 6 year old girl was our self appointed guide – she didn’t like going to school!
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The destination: Cascada del Chuveje

On the way back to our cabins we stopped off a a fairly “rustic”bar for a couple of bottles  of water and a beer for Pablo and half a Coca Cola for Lola and I, and a chat with some locals!  The scenery was fine but it was plastic chairs and tablecloths and maybe a challenge for the immune system!

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Our Cabins – see the dog waiting patiently outside Lola’s Cabin on the left
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Lola emerges! The dog was fixated with her (even thought it was my discarded steak he got for dinner and Pablo that fed him) and he wouldn’t go near anyones else’s cabin.

We had to drive miles back onto the main road to find a place for dinner -which was forgettable with more plastic furniture, TV blaring, questionable hygiene and chewy steak. However – the community was very poor and uneducated and tourism and mining are their only hope and so Pablo is supporting a local community.

The next day we hit the road for Xilitla. The less said about the road the better – it was high, it was windy, and it was a long way.

We stopped off in the quaint town of Jalpan at the Jesuit mission church – an amazingly ornate exterior and leafy little cloisters alongside. The first of the Jesuit churches; (we saw 2) but there are 7 tucked into these hills.

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Francisco Mission church of Jalpan, are in the style called Mestizo Baroque, baroque style influenced by local Pame Indians.

We went through desert, cactus and then rain forest, high altitude cold rainy areas and sweltering hot areas and finally arrived at our destination in what truly feels like the middle of nowhere. Again we stayed at an ecolodge called Casa Caracol – (snail house) and we had cute little coloured cabins.

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Lola had the pink snail house
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Ms Pacifica in the blue – with the ‘eye’

The main attraction or these cabins is that the are over the road for the most amazing site I have ever been to… Las Pozas. Hang-in for the next blog.

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